May 4, 2020
From Eric Silber, Threefold Educational Foundation Executive Director
The global interruption caused by COVID-19 has upturned many lives and caused much suffering around the world. Here in New York State, our governor’s approach has been to put the state on “PAUSE.” How often do we take a pause when we find ourselves going down a path? For some reason or no reason, we stop, rethink our direction, and then continue on or set another course.
The pause imposed upon us today can be a gift, a prompt to look at our world and our lives with different eyes and opened hearts. Krishnamurti said, “It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” We can hope we soon return to “normal”; or we can choose to become a force for healing, for creating a truly healthy society. Many in our organizations are taking hold of this opportunity, even as we negotiate the realities of the present day.
Threefold Educational Foundation (encompassing Green Meadow Waldorf School, the Otto Specht School, the Fiber Craft Studio, the Pfeiffer Center, and Eurythmy Spring Valley) has successfully applied for Paycheck Protection Program funds, which will provide a much-needed financial bridge as we adapt to our new circumstances. We are committed to using these funds responsibly and with gratitude given the reality that many deserving enterprises still do not have the resources they need. We are committed as ever toward fulfilling our mission of cultural renewal as a force for healing in the world.
While we have all been affected by COVID-19 in one way or another, to date, we have been very fortunate in that there has not been a spread of cases on the Threefold or Fellowship campuses. This has not been the case in our surrounding communities. Through this, we have found ways to work together in the spirit of cooperation and community by adjusting to new practices in the routines of our daily lives. As the weather warms up, please continue to be mindful of these practices. As guidance becomes available for reopening, we will work collectively to set plans that take into account the needs of all community organizations.
News from Threefold Community Institutions
The last half of April brought confirmation that the pandemic will have a significant effect on our campus and community. It is safe to say that this will be the quietest summer at Threefold in many years.
Offices in the Auditorium and Main House remain accessible for office staff for receiving mail and performing essential functions. For all other purposes, the buildings are closed.
As Governor Cuomo has announced that schools in New York will not reopen this spring, Green Meadow staff and faculty are making plans for a graduation celebration fitting for our current situation. The resilience and flexibility of our seniors and their families need a big celebration! Meanwhile, Green Meadow continues to provide remote learning to students and virtual open houses to prospective families.
The School of Eurythmy has been forming contingency plans for their summer programs, all dependent on the guidelines issued by New York State and the sense of the community as we get deeper into springtime.
The Fellowship Community has canceled all study groups and events for May, and Hilltop House is not allowing any outside visitors. The Fellowship thanks all who have volunteered to do shopping and errands for elder members who reside in the outer lodges. If you are interested in volunteering, please visit this page to apply.
The Nature Place Day Camp is awaiting guidance from the Governor’s office regarding summer camps. They expect to know more in the next two weeks.
The Steiner School of Speech Arts looks forward to resuming its work again in September. As the essential work with the speech arts involves breath, gesture/space, and other components not perceptible electronically, training and public workshops are on hold at this time. As the upcoming number of students can be expected to be small, physical distancing can easily be maintained once the work resumes.
Meetings of the Threefold Branch are suspended, but all are invited to join in reading and study from home on Wednesday evenings. Please contact Gino Ver Eecke for details.
The Christian Community continues to celebrate the Act of Consecration of Man daily, at 10:30am on Sunday and 9:00am Monday-Saturday. “Congregate services” are not presently allowed, but individual visitors are permitted in houses of worship. Please observe social distancing requirements.
Services, and Opportunities to Serve
Threefold Café continues to serve up delicious take-out lunch and dinner every weekday. You can also help the Café ride out this lean period by giving to and sharing the Café Coronavirus Sustainer Fund.
Hungry Hollow Co-op is committed to providing the products you need in as safe and conscious a way as possible. The store is offering curbside pickup orders Monday-Saturday, and also welcomes walk-in customers on Saturday (11:00am-5:00pm).
At the Pfeiffer Center and Duryea Farm, spring and summer vegetables are being planted, and a bounty of raw milk and yogurt is available to purchase at our on-farm Dairy Store. The Pfeiffer Center Plant Sale is on for May 14-17, with special accommodations for social distancing.
The Center for Biography and Social Art is offering sessions to address the individual question, “How Are You . . . Really?” The sessions welcome participants to share their responses – concerns, activities, sadness, or moments of resilience – to the multiple challenges of COVID-19 in small group conversation. Each session is limited to ten people, so register as soon as possible. Click here to register.
A Red Cross Blood Drive will be held at the Martin Luther King Center on May 15; click here to register.
March 31, 2020
It is in the nature of trials that the form in which they appear, and what they ask of us, is never what we expect.
The global pandemic we are presently living through is a trial for all of humanity. What may be asked of us in the days, weeks, and months ahead, is uncertain. But today, clearly, each of us is tasked with caring for ourselves, our loved ones, our neighbors, and every other human being by observing these practices:
When we are asked to forsake a comforting ritual of everyday life — a handshake, a hug, a meal with friends, shopping — we are given a choice: We can question and resent the imposition, or we can be grateful for this opportunity to practice renunciation in service to every one of our fellow human beings.
If this act of renunciation is the greatest sacrifice any of us needs to make in this pandemic, we can consider ourselves very fortunate indeed. So let us also take this opportunity to be grateful for the ease and abundance with which we are blessed.
Even as we are rightfully called upon to practice physical distancing, I encourage everyone to continue to deepen our social connections, for that will be a foundation upon which we can stand on the other side of this. Take this opportunity to look out for your neighbors as you take care of yourself and your family. If you are in need of any assistance, please reach out.
Executive Director, Threefold Educational Foundation
As a community of organizations, we continue to monitor and follow all guidelines put forward by New York State. In the third week of the time of coronavirus in the Threefold community, life has changed in large ways and small:
Offices in Threefold Auditorium and Main House remain accessible for office staff for receiving mail and performing essential functions. For all other purposes, the buildings are closed.
Sunbridge Institute’s staff is working from home and video conferencing with faculty and program directors, who have been leading successful virtual classes with our early childhood program students. We are committed to serving our students and are currently exploring all available synchronous online learning options for this summer’s teacher education students and Summer Series attendees, should in-person learning be impossible.
Green Meadow‘s faculty is delivering online learning to grades 5 through 12. Grades 1 through 4 have varied modalities for the delivery of lessons from their class teachers and subject teachers. Early Childhood parents are receiving daily communication from their children’s teachers. Main lesson instruction and track classes so far are reportedly going well. Teachers report that teaching in this mode is so different, that being together is energizing and being apart feels very new. We are all learning a lot about all kinds of things along the way.
Eurythmy Spring Valley is on an extended spring break. We are taking time to speak with our students over conference calls and developing new methods for completing the training year. We are also actively preparing for our summer courses and will post updates on our website about upcoming courses and trainings.
At the Pfeiffer Center and Duryea Farm, the greenhouses are filling up and beds are being turned in preparation for the coming growing season. Our annual Plant Sale is still on for May 15, 16, and 17; mark your calendar and start planning your own garden! Raw milk is abundant at Duryea Farm‘s self-serve dairy store at 101 Ackertown Road.
The Fiber Craft Studio is providing online classes for their two year-long courses, Art of Clothing and Sheep to Shawl, and developing contingency plans for their summer Applied Arts Program courses. FCS director Chris Marlow observes, “At this time of uncertainty, quiet handwork activity can calm and enrich our daily lives as a mindful practice. Using plant dyed natural materials can nourish our senses and bring healing energy as well.” You can start your own handwork project by visiting the Studio’s new online store.
The Christian Community is offering the Act of Consecration of Man every day at 9:00am. Daily celebration makes it possible for those wishing to attend to spread themselves out through the week. The church is practicing appropriate hygienic measures and has arranged the chairs in the chapel to facilitate physical distancing.
Because the outlook for when people can return to work is uncertain, decisions about Threefold Pond, Nature Place Day Camp, and other summer activities are on hold for the next four weeks.
So may the lightning shatter into dust
Our sense built houses.
We will erect instead soul houses
Built on knowledge,
Upon its iron-firm, light woven web.
And downfall of the outer
Shall become uprise
Of the soul’s own innermost.
— From a verse to the Berlin friends given to Anna Samweber by Rudolf Steiner in 1923
From Eric Silber, Threefold Educational Foundation Executive Director
We are facing unprecedented events and times of uncertainty. Yet as the organs in our bodies work together with a wisdom that does not lie in the physical world, the organizations within the body of our community can call upon that same wisdom to face “with absolute equanimity everything that may come” if our “courage is not to fail us.” Today is the first day of spring. If we look outdoors, we can see nature coming to life all around us. I am confident that we have the forces to work together, collaborate and come through this pandemic stronger than before.
As cases continue to rise in the United States and in New York, governmental bodies are working to implement measures to slow the spread of the virus and keep our healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed. Each individual has a crucial role to play in this effort. Thank you for observing the widely published guidelines for social distancing and handwashing. If you have any flu-like symptoms or any known exposure to a COVID-19 carrier, please stay in your home. As you take care of yourself, look for opportunities to help other, more vulnerable members of our community.
The State of Emergency order in effect in Rockland County requires all schools to remain closed until April 15. While we hope that our schools will be able to reopen in mid-April or soon after, we are making plans for every contingency.
The following is an update of what is happening around the community:
The Threefold maintenance department continues to follow the cleaning and disinfecting protocols outlined in my last letter. Even though classes are suspended, all offices remain accessible to staff and faculty as needed.
Holder House is not accepting reservations for any stays before April 18. This may change as the situation develops. Guests can make reservations for summer courses. We currently have five residents in Holder House.
Threefold Café is offering takeout lunch and dinner every weekday. Please visit this page, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 845-352-3130 for information or to place an order. Under the State of Emergency order, the Café is closed to dine-in business.
The Pfeiffer Center / Fellowship farm project is moving forward. The greenhouses are full of new plants and the fields are being prepared to raise vegetables for Hilltop House, the CSA, and the Farm Stand. Workshops and other public programs have been suspended through April, but the Plant Sale is still on for May 15, 16, and 17. There is abundant raw milk available at the Duryea Farm dairy ($5/half gallon); the cows and the bees are healthy.
On Thursday, Green Meadow began delivering online learning to grades 5 through 12. Grades 1 through 4 will have varied modalities for the delivery of lessons from their class teachers and subject teachers. Early Childhood parents will receive daily communication from their children’s teachers regarding the rhythm of the day and supporting healthy daily rhythms. All extracurricular activities, events, and outside rentals have been cancelled.
The Otto Specht School is offering online video classes that include main lessons, art, music, and speech. Individualized packets of academic and artistic work and practical arts projects have been sent home. Students are also creating in-home gardens that include materials and seeds for students to plant and tend to until they can return to school.
Endeavor21 has suspended programming for day students but will continue modified in-home and outdoor programming for resident adult students.
The Fiber Craft Studio is providing online content for its two year-long programs, Sheep to Shawl and the Art of Clothing. A decision will be made soon regarding the Sheep and Wool Festival that was scheduled for May 17. Monthly Open Studio and Plant Dye Café will be canceled until May. Handwork teachers are invited to join our Facebook group, Fiber Craft Studio Applied Arts Group, to share online handwork ideas. They are taking email orders for any handwork materials at email@example.com.
Sunbridge Institute’s virtual course for 21 students in the Early Child Program is going very well. When the course ends on Friday, staff will be staggering times in the office and focusing on summer programs.
All Threefold Branch activities have been suspended for the time being. Gino Ver Eecke will notify all Branch members when meetings will resume.
The Christian Community is looking at providing additional services during the week allowing smaller groups to be able to attend. As of this time, Sunday services are being offered as usual.
The Fellowship Community continues to restrict access to Hilltop House to only essential staff and to enforce strict measures to protect the members. The Fellowship is seeking volunteers to do shopping and run errands for members who reside outside of Hilltop House and are hesitant to leave the community. Anyone who would like to adopt-a-member should contact Carol Avery at the Foundation Office: 845-356-8494.
Eurythmy Spring Valley and the Steiner School of Speech Arts have closed for all training activities through April 19. All public events and performances between now and April 19 have been cancelled. Both ESV and the Speech School plan to resume normal activities as soon as they are able.
The Hungry Hollow Co-op staff have been busy receiving deliveries and stocking shelves to meet the needs of their customers. They are in the process of creating grocery pick-up days for those who prefer not to shop in the store.
The Threefold office in the Auditorium is open but staff are observing staggered schedules to minimize interpersonal contact. All Threefold staff are reachable by email. Checks, vouchers, and other correspondence can be left in the box outside the office door.
As you can see, in a time where social distancing is a public health necessity, there are many ways for us to maintain the connections that give our lives meaning. Circumstances are changing daily, and we are called upon to adapt and respond while holding the health of our community at our center. I am in awe of all the efforts so many are making to keep our programs alive and to stay connected to our students, parents, customers and others drawn to our community. We have so much to be grateful for. I encourage everyone to stay connected and look out for each other.
March 19, 2020
From Eurythmy Spring Valley
On Monday, March 16, Eurythmy Spring Valley closed its doors to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our school, community, and region. Our campus will remain closed to all training activities and events through Sunday, April 19, 2020. As with many schools, we will reopen our activities as soon as we are authorized by health officials in our area. We are deeply appreciative of the collaborative work happening in our community to meet the effects of this virus and to support of each other in the process. Given that we are all now engaged in this unprecedented event impacting people worldwide, we will be monitoring the conditions, and providing updates on how we are navigating this challenge in our Eurythmy Spring Valley school community.
March 17, 2020
From Green Meadow Waldorf School
Today, NYC public schools announced closure for the next three weeks, and the Rockland County Executive has declared a state of emergency. We have witnessed the devastating effects of this quickly spreading virus, and we must play our role in mitigating its effects. With this sobering recent news, and in consultation with Green Meadow’s Advisory Board, we have made the decision to shift to a distance learning mode in recognition of the abundance of caution needed at this time.
As such, our campus will be closed for all activities through the end of Spring Break, on Sunday, April 19. All school activities, including field trips, concerts, the Third Grade Farm Trip, athletics, and After-School Classes, etc. are cancelled and will be rescheduled if possible. We have made this difficult decision not only for the health and well-being of our students and their families, but for society as a whole. Please note that at this time there are still no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the GMWS or Threefold communities.
As we develop new ways of working together and staying connected, we will rely increasingly on one another. Through these challenging times we will get to know one another in new ways and we will develop resilience together, to make distance learning a rich and positive experience for our students. We will be reunited on our beautiful campus at some point, and the plays, trips, and events that we are now missing will go forward at a later date.
Our decision to stay home, however uncomfortable, can be an opportunity to connect more deeply with family and is a luxury that not all have; let’s find ways to use that privilege in the coming weeks for the good of those who are more vulnerable: hourly workers, the elderly, those who are homeless or jobless, healthcare practitioners, and others. Let’s find ways to support local businesses and our neighbors.
Please continue to communicate actively with us about the health of your family. We will stay in frequent communication with you as plans develop and continue to update this webpage. We recognize that the shift to distance learning will require a lot from you as parents, to establish the home side of this program. Thank you for your support in making this work.
March 16, 2020
From Eric Silber, Threefold Educational Foundation Executive Director
We are now in the midst of a global public health emergency. If the experiences of China, South Korea, Italy, and Washington state are any guide, we can foresee a difficult and challenging time ahead.
I am writing to fill you in on measures that are being taken in our community, and to remind you of the measures that you can take to reduce the risks to yourself, your household, and your neighbors. All of us – individuals and institutions – share a responsibility to hold the wellbeing of our most vulnerable neighbors as our priority.
Effective today, the Fellowship Community has put in place policies to protect the residents of Hilltop House. Until at least March 28, only essential persons may enter Hilltop House: caregivers, therapists, doctors, and specially cleared visitors. Not permitted in Hilltop House: Anyone who has traveled by air (or been exposed to someone who has traveled by air) in the past 14 days; anyone who has been exposed to a person with the COVID-19 virus; anyone who has respiratory or flu-like symptoms. Events, gatherings, and off-campus trips must be pre-approved, and caregivers and staff have been given guidelines for hygiene and protective wear.
Elsewhere in our community:
To help safeguard our long-term residents, Holder House will be closed to short-term guests from March 21 until April 18. For now, Holder House is still taking summer room reservations.
Sunbridge Institute is now offering a distance-learning option to students who prefer not to travel here for their teacher training.
Green Meadow has developed a detailed response plan that includes providing distance learning for grades 7-12 in the event that the school must close or individual children must be quarantined.
Threefold Educational Foundation has instituted new cleaning protocols in our public spaces – Main House, Threefold Café, Threefold Auditorium, Holder House, Orchard House, and the Red Barn painting studio.
The experience in other parts of the world shows that every individual can help lessen the impact of COVID-19.
- If you are ill, especially if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, stay at home! Even if you feel well, do not come to work, school, or events if any member of your household is experiencing flu-like symptoms.
- Practice good hygiene, particularly routine handwashing and regular cleaning of high-contact surfaces in your home and workplace.
- If you are ill and feel that you need medical attention, call your physician’s office.
- Plan ahead for the possibility of a lengthy confinement. While you do that, consider your neighbors who may be less capable of caring for themselves in a period of confinement: offer to help with shopping, pet care, and the like.
COVID-19 is an extremely serious disease, and must be taken seriously. Fortunately, the experience of others shows that the impact of COVID-19 can be mitigated by good public health practices. All of the Threefold community’s institutions are committed to observing these practices. Thank you in advance for doing your part.
March 13, 2020
This page will be updated as needed.
For Our Residents and Visitors
We are continually monitoring updates on COVID-19, or the novel coronavirus. Threefold staff is diligently working to take appropriate measures to help ensure the health and safety of our residents and visitors based on the best information available.
Our cleaning staff has implemented the following practices:
- High-contact surfaces, including doorknobs, handrails, and light switches in Main House, Threefold Auditorium, and the Red Barn are routinely disinfected.
- In Holder House, bathrooms, kitchens, and high-contact surfaces are being disinfected daily. Each guest room is disinfected when guests check out.
- Threefold Café is diligently cleaning and disinfecting dining areas and rest rooms on a daily basis.
If you have any questions or concerns in this area, please reach out to Christa Lynch at 845-352-5020 x122.
We ask our residents and visitors to apply these good hygiene practices, which are known to mitigate the spread of illness:
- Routine handwashing (soap and lather for at least 20 seconds).
- Use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Sneeze into your elbow or a tissue, not into your hands.
- Do not come to work, school, or events if you or members of your household are sick or have flu-like symptoms.
- Consider postponing air travel.
- Consider what precautions are necessary when having international visitors, especially from countries with high incidence of the coronavirus (i.e. voluntary isolation for 14 days).
- If returning from a country or state with a high incidence of the coronavirus, consider voluntary isolation for yourself and members of your household for 14 days.
We ask all our residents and visitors to consider the well-being of the community as a priority. If you are experiencing COVID-19-like symptoms — such as fever, coughing, shortness of breath — stay home and contact your physician.
Communication and Contingency Planning
A community task force with representatives from every organization in the Threefold and Fellowship communities is meeting by phone on a daily basis to ensure open communication flow, address concerns, access new and developing information, and recommend appropriate actions.
We do not know to what extent the virus will spread or what measures federal, state, or local government agencies might employ to contain it. The institutions in the Threefold community are committed to complying with all public health directives and taking all appropriate measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
In our community setting, open communication is essential at all times, especially in times of stress and uncertainty. Visitors and residents are encouraged to reach out to institutional leadership with any questions or concerns, including:
- Concerns that are brought to you from your constituents.
- Concerns that anyone in your organization may have been exposed to coronavirus, or is showing flu-like symptoms.
- Concerns about anyone planning on traveling to or from areas where there have been instances of coronavirus.
- Any communications from or actions requested by any government agencies.
March 9, 2020
This page will be updated as needed.